Does Keyword Research Even Matter Anymore?


Keyword research. I’m sure you’ve done it before.

You probably know what it’s like to use keyword research tools and come up with lists of keywords to track and rank for. I’ve done it dozens of times myself. Why? Because it’s one of those “standard practices” that we do in SEO and online marketing.

But search engines today aren’t looking only at keywords! Search engines are looking at hundreds of different factors. And keywords? They are only a small part of the big picture.

Don’t get me wrong. I think keyword research is still important.

But here’s the thing…

Keyword research isn’t the only aspect you need to be researching when optimizing a website or planning your content marketing.

I want you to go a level deeper—to the level that users are searching for and search engines are indexing for.

I’m going to share with you three ways to go beyond basic keyword research. Although keyword research should still be a part of your SEO, it’s only the start.

I’m confident that these advanced research methods will add rocket fuel to your marketing, attract targeted traffic, earn valuable links, and ultimately boost your revenue.

I will explain in detail how to use each of these powerful research methods.

First of all, let me preface this by revealing something you may not know about Google: the algorithm changes 500-600 times per year.

That’s a rate of nearly 1.5 changes a day!

Even with all the marketing ability I’ve developed running my various businesses, I can’t hope to keep up with the rapid pace of change in the Google search algorithm and its machine learning. Odds are, neither can you.

So, now that you understand the why, let’s dive into the how. This is how we do keyword research in today’s world.

1. User intent

One of the biggest mistakes I see many newbie online entrepreneurs make is that they focus too much on the specific keywords in their research without focusing enough on user intent behind those keywords.

You may be thinking, “Neil, what is user intent, and how do I use it to improve the traffic and conversions on my site?”

User intent is just what it sounds. User intent refers to the user’s ultimate goal in typing a search query.

Let me make a quick point about the terms I am using.

  • Keywords: A targeted phrase you’re trying to rank for. You do keyword research. You use this phrase in your content, making sure it appears in all the right places.
  • Query: The phrase or words that a user types into Google. This could be a short phrase, a question, or just a string of words the user is typing.

I try to keep those two terms—keywords and query—straight, but sometimes I use them interchangeably.

As SEOs, we tend to focus on keywords, right? That’s what we want to rank for, obviously.

But users don’t care about our keywords. They just want to get the best result for their query.

And that’s my point: every query has an intent. Every time someone types something into Google, they are trying to accomplish something. They have a goal.

For example, when I am up late at night watching Gossip Girls reruns and I Google “Chinese food,” my user intent is to order some Chinese food.

And guess what? Google knows this. And, voila, this is exactly what comes up!


However, if I change the wording ever so slightly, typing “great Chinese food” instead of “Chinese food,” what appears is quite different.


By simply changing one word, I shifted the intent of my search from ordering Chinese food to finding great Chinese meals and restaurants in a given area.

See the difference? Sure, the difference involves a change in wording. But the deeper change was one of intent.

Google gets it. The whole search engine is designed to deliver really good results based on the user’s intent.

Check out this video from Google. User intent is the whole reason why Google spends hundreds of millions of dollars to refine its algorithms and enhance its machine learning process.

If the search engine is that focused on user intent, we should be as well.

So, how can you use this to improve your keyword research?

You have to take advantage of user intent to understand which keywords you should try to rank for.

Basically, you need to understand the user’s goal when they input certain queries.

Let me give you another example.

See if you can figure out the intent behind this query: “order a birthday cake”


Pretty straightforward, right?

If this “order a birthday cake” was one of your target keyword phrases, you should understand that the user’s intent is to order a birthday cake.

The great thing about user intent is that it becomes far easier to figure it out as the query becomes longer.

Long queries are really valuable for two reasons:

  • We can identify exactly what the user wants and give it to them.
  • We can gain targeted organic traffic for super-specific long-tail keywords.

Double whammy!

Let me show you exactly what I mean by expanding that “order a birthday cake” query.

Most users don’t simply want to order a birthday cake. They want to order a specific type of cake, for a specific type of person, in a specific location, for a specific purpose, and at a specific time.

See where this is going?

Take a look at this doozy of a query:


How’s that for user intent?

You can use this super-focused intent to create super-focused content!

For this query, you know that:

  • Someone wants to order a cake…
  • for a girl…
  • who is probably between 4 and 10 years old.
  • They don’t want to make the cake themselves.
  • They want it delivered to their venue.
  • And they live in the Atlanta, Georgia, area.
  • Most likely, it’s a mom, dad, or party planner who’s typing in this query.
  • They probably have a limited amount of time on their hands. They’re busy.
  • They live with or know about children and understand what children like.

I could go on and on.

This is the level of keyword research that you want to do. You’re not just spinning a bunch of variations from some keyword tool. Instead, you’re diving into the reasons, the motivations, and the desires of the user.

We could even sketch a persona based on that keyword and then target that persona in our marketing efforts.

Kelly is a 33-year-old working mom. She has a 3-year-old son and a 5-year-old daughter who turns 6 on August 2. Kelly loves her kids but isn’t able to spend much time with them because of her demanding job as a paralegal in downtown Atlanta. Kelly wants to surprise her daughter with a special birthday party with a princess theme.

You might not be able to achieve this level of research for every keyword, but you can at least get a general idea of the general intent of your target audience.

Basically, if you know why a user is looking up a certain keyword, you will be able to determine what keywords you want to use on your website and in your content.

Using my first example, if you were a Chinese takeout restaurant, you would want to rank for “Chinese food,” “order Chinese food,” or “Chinese takeout.” Ideally, you would also try to rank for local terms such as “Chinese takeout downtown Las Vegas.”

However, if you ran a Chinese recipe niche site, you might try to rank for “great Chinese food,” “awesome Chinese recipes,” or something similar.

2. Search query type

Another important element of diving deeper into keyword research is understanding search queries and search query type.

As I explained above, a query is what a user types into Google. A keyword is what you’re trying to rank for.

Let me show you a keyword and a query example so you can clearly see the difference.

Keyword: Men’s skinny jeans

Query: Where to buy men’s skinny jeans

Do you see the difference?

The keyword is a relatively straightforward term. The query, however, is more specific because the user wants to accomplish something (user intent—as discussed above).

But there’s another remarkable thing about those queries.

Whenever you are doing keyword research, try to understand what kind of queries lend themselves to people hitting the “buy now” button.

It’s really important because if you could figure out the types of queries that lead people to purchase immediately, you would be able to get more sales.

And if you could figure out the queries that pulled people into the top of your funnel, you’d be able to structure an amazing content marketing campaign.

Here is the good news: you can find that out, and you can structure your content marketing around those types of queries.

Here’s how.

There are three basic types of queries:

  1. Informational
  2. Transactional
  3. Navigational

Let me explain each of these so we can get clear on how to target each one:

  1. Informational searches are pretty easy to figure out. The user wants to get information on a certain topic. For example, “how to structure a content marketing campaign” is an informational query.
  2. Transactional searches mean that the user is trying to buy something or transact in some way. “Buy skinny jeans online,” “order flowers las vegas,” or “whole foods coupon” are all transactional queries.
  3. Navigational searches take place when the user is trying to get to a specific website but doesn’t remember or doesn’t want to type in the URL. For example, if I wanted to visit the Men’s Health website, I would search for “mens health” or “mens health mag” rather than typing “” into my search bar.


Nearly every query fits into one of these three types.

What’s even better is that nearly every query has a specific position in the marketing funnel.


Make sure you understand, of course, that most search traffic is informational.


In other words, you’ll be gaining most of your leads in the top of the funnel through informational queries.

Informational queries build awareness and aid the user’s consideration, just like the marketing funnel predicts.


Let me share an example now so you can see how to apply this information to your content marketing and SEO strategies.

Say you are selling men’s skinny jeans and trying to decide which keywords to try to rank for.

Some possibilities:

  • Men’s skinny jeans
  • Top men’s skinny jeans
  • Skinny jeans men’s style
  • Best men’s skinny jeans
  • Distressed men’s skinny jeans
  • Hipster men’s skinny jeans

Now comes the important part of understanding the search query.

If you were an e-commerce store that sold men’s skinny jeans, the keywords you would try to rank for would be very different from the ones you would target if you were running a blog on men’s fashion and writing an article on why skinny jeans are appalling.

This is the difference between informational and transactional search queries.

Basically, you want to research search queries related to your industry to discover new keywords you can try to rank for.

Let’s say you are selling men’s skinny jeans. You want transactional queries. Looking at the different search queries, you will notice that common keywords that pop up are:

  • Men’s skinny jeans sale
  • Men’s skinny jeans online shopping
  • Men’s stretch skinny jeans

Within an e-commerce environment, it’s important to understand the specific nature of a user’s transactional query. They might be looking for sizes, features, and specific product types.

Most e-commerce search functionality offers support for “non-product” queries but has limited ability in allowing “subjective” queries.


By enhancing keyword support in the most relevant areas of your e-commerce website, you’ll be able to gain organic traffic to those internal pages where the user is prepared to transact.

If, on the other hand, you run a fashion blog and are writing that article on men’s skinny jeans, you might find search queries like these:

  • Fashion blog men’s skinny jeans and boots
  • Men’s skinny jeans outfits
  • Men’s skinny jeans
  • Spring outfits men’s skinny jeans

As you can see, all these queries contain the keyword phrase “men’s skinny jeans,” but the secondary keywords you should try to rank for will change based on the user intent behind the search query.

By knowing which queries you are targeting, you will be able to come up with a more targeted list of keywords to try to rank for.

Plus, the keywords will result in greater conversions of your visitors into either blog subscribers or buyers.

3. Demographic research

The third and final part of keyword research is demographic keyword research.

You know about demographics, right?

Demographic research is a powerful marketing tool. You can use the information you gain in your demographic research to target specific types of people.

You’ve probably seen sample personas like this one:


Most personas contain demographic data:


In the persona above, it’s helpful to know that Brandi…

  • is a female
  • is 36
  • lives in the LA area
  • makes 38k a year
  • has narrow feet

Personas affect everything in marketing.

Personas affect keywords too.

Let me show you how.

Let’s say your target demographic is men ages 18-35 looking to lose weight.

However, you’ve chosen to target the keyword “easy fat loss.”

What you may find is that the majority of people searching for “easy fat loss” are women 30-45. (I’m just using this as an example, so this assumption may or may not be true.)


Thankfully, there are several excellent tools you can use for keyword demographic research, including Microsoft’s AdCenter Labs, Keyword Discovery, and, of course, the AdWords’ Keyword Planner.

Some of these tools, such as Keyword Discovery, are particularly structured to enable demographic keyword research.


The more you can segment and analyze your data, the better you will become at identifying demographic keyword trends.

A report like the one below, for example, alerts you to the fact that men and women between the ages of 35 to 54 search for “oscars” at specific times of day.


The demographic information behind some queries is obvious.

  • Men’s skinny jeans. The demographic is most likely young men.
  • Amazon books for teenage girls. This demographic could be either a teenage girl or the parent of a teenage girl.
  • Best foods for pregnancy. Probably a mom-to-be.

By using the right research tools and figuring out which queries your ideal demographic is typing, you’ll be able to be more precise about the keywords you try to rank for.

Here’s a parting word of advice about demographics: narrow it down.

We would all like to think that our product is good for everybody. However, if you can identify your ideal client and demographic and really capitalize on this, making sure every keyword you rank for is something that demographic is searching for, you’ll have a higher conversion rate than if you went too broad with your keywords.

Specific, long-tail queries will draw in the specific and eager customers you want to attract.


Here is what you need to know: Keyword research still matters. It is an integral part of any successful online business.

But basic keyword research on its own will not get your as far as you need to go with your online marketing! Your standard practice of typing a few phrases into Google Keyword Planner and exporting the list into your tracking software isn’t how it’s done anymore.

You have to be willing to dive deeper into your research to uncover the who, what, and why of each of your keywords.

If you can go beyond the basics, you will improve your marketing success.

I’d love to hear about any innovative strategies you know that take keyword research to an advanced level. What methods do you use to go beyond basic keyword research?


  1. Thanks for sharing this useful guide.

  2. Glen Allsopp :

    After just reading the headline. “Yes.”

    After reading the full article. “Yes.”

    Definitely some good advice in here though that beginner’s especially won’t have considered when just starting out.

    • lol, glad this was so helpful for you Glen

      • Anil Agarwal :

        I love doing keyword research.

        User intent keyword research NEVER dies. Google and your users both will use specific queries to reach out to your blog or website.

        I personally use SEMrush and LTP to come up with great keyword ideas.

        If you are a beginner, I also recommend using as it is a great free alternative to keyword planner. Thanks for sharing the post Neil!

        • One of the most important things you can do is to understand who your market is so you can provide your audience with exactly what you’re looking for

  3. I use keyword research tools less and less – partly because I have a good idea of what search terms are typically used, but more so for the focus on reader/user optimization. Good stuff.

  4. Naman Nepal :

    Keyword research mattered in the past, it does now and will always do. “Basic keyword research” is what I feel have changed over time.

    If someone is not good at using different tools for keyword research, he/she is surely going nowhere today. Every industry has grown to become more competitive.

    As always, great piece Neil!

    Keep up the good work.


  5. Love this article. It is better to go for a bunch of longest-tail-queries instead of robbing your bank with SEA-adventures for generic keywords.

  6. Subhabrata Kasyapi :

    Thanks Neil for sharing such a useful article.

    Although all of the methods are great, but I personally find Search Query Method is most effective as it’s most specific one.

    And frankly speaking, it takes lesser time.

    Again, one needs to apply his common sense in the every corner of content marketing business.

    Common sense really doesn’t has any alternative so far.

    Great Work. Great Post.

    Big Thanks.



  7. Maximillian Heth :

    Way to go back to basics, Neil! I love how you dive into the intent behind the keywords since it’s so easy to lose sight of that at times. Other SEOs (particularly Leslie Rohde and Dan Thies from the Marketer’s Braintrust) also argue that it’s important to follow and take part in the conversation (i.e., on social media platforms and popular forums specific to your niche) your target audience is already having, which makes for a great resource for keyword research as well as demographic and psychographic research. Cheers! =)

  8. So we already targeted those readers when we do research and act as them when they do query. Am I correct here?

    If yes, when we write the article, how we implement those queries result? Do we have to keep in mind about Density – the keywords or the queries?


    Hi Neil, With the help of quicksprout I got more Page views from last week. Your SEO tricks is awesome. Thanks Neil Patel Sir.

  10. Hi Neil,

    this article is heaven sent, I just spent the entire day digging in Long Tail Pro, and I must tell you I do get pretty lost in the whole keyword research thing. With so many metrics to take into account and so many variations, it’s tough to pick the right ones. This article has really cleared a lot up for me, I’m really feeling the intent part, need to apply this asap. I have a fashion blog so your fashion blog examples were of great help. Eagerly awaiting your next post!

    • I know what you mean, it can feel a bit overwhelming at first. It’s like anything else, you just need to fail as many times as you can until you get better

  11. This is a really great blog post and much needed.

    I’m curious which keyword/query tools you find most useful right now?

  12. Great article as usual, Neil! This is something newbies especially need to take to heart. I remember the days when it was all about keywords and keyword stuffing. Now it’s more about giving people answers to what they’re searching for and working the keywords in around that. Another thing I do is Google my keyword phrase and see if there’s any chance I can get to the first page with that keyword – how many big guns would I have to outrank? If it looks to competitive, I try to re-phrase it to a different way someone might search for it, like you said. There are several ways to search for the same query. Intent is really important. Thanks for sharing this!

  13. Hi Neil,

    You have nailed the topic, awesome.

    I agree with your viewpoint on in-depth keyword research. As you said, what, when, how and where search queries related to the main KW would work.

    I’ll try to implement the keyword research strategy to perform better.

    Thanks for crafting a comprehensive post for the bloggers, have a good day!

    • You’re welcome Nirmala, I’m glad it was helpful.

      It’s a tedious task, but it’s well worth the results

  14. Thanks Neil for this useful article!

  15. Did you try out the Keyword Discovery tool before posting about it here?

    The second screenshot, with the male/female demographic is not a part of that tool. The link provided – an article 4 years old – tells me that it’s from Yahoo clues. Yahoo clues, which apparently shut down 3 years ago.

    I understand the sentiment — this is not a new POV — but disappointed the screenshot tools did not live up to recommendation.

  16. I tried my best to get on the top list of comments but as usual their is high rush to your content.

    Anyway great content. Keep it up.

  17. Neil, you certainly have keen insight into the specifics of the new content & intent-driven SEO that get results for the smaller entrepreneurs out here & even down to the beginning “mom & pop” level start-ups. Thanks for consistently delivering real-world useful, well-researched, & revenue producing end points to your posts. Haven’t seen yet anyone who consistently does it better…..
    Jeff McKim
    Scottsdale – Mesa, AZ

    • It’s my pleasure putting these posts together for you Jeff. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask

  18. Ravijit Chavda :

    Great article 🙂 Helped me a lot.

  19. Shubham Kumar :

    Few days back i made my first sale.

    This article came on the correct time.

    Great advice. Loved the user intent part.

    Thanks Neil.

  20. Interesting! Always wondered about user intent and this has confirmed what I was thinking?

  21. Dave LeBlanc :

    The Microsoft keyword tool is here,

    As far as I could ever tell, the results are from this tool and Google’s Keyword Planner are pretty much the same.

  22. i think nagivational searches mostly comes from india . as in india most people still thinks google search bar as bwoser address bar 😛

    btw nice post neil

  23. Thank you. I love the visuals.

  24. I’m a little confused. If I want to write an article about how black cohosh, which is a herb, helps with menopause, can I target “black cohosh for menopause” or do you think I should target something more specific?

  25. David Throop :

    This is a great breakdown of the differences between generic keyword research and targeted research. Which, in the world of all things Internet, is the full enchilada.

    As Einstein said – “The definition of genius is taking the complex and making it simple.” – That’s the power of this article.

    As a newbie, I don’t have many advanced techniques but with the information you’ve given, I feel much more confident in my marketing game.

    • It’s one of my talents to be able to take a ton of information and then simplify it enough for someone to understand

  26. Anil Agrawal :

    Wow! Neil, this is another great post! I need to read it at least once again. Any tips on query phrases if I am in Leadership/Productivity consulting/coaching services business?

    • Write amazing blog posts and promote on social. Why not look to see what some of your competitors like tony robbins are doing and go after similar keywords in your market

  27. This is incredibly helpful, thank you! I will definitely share!

  28. Excellent (and usefully simple) explanation on how to incorporate user intent into keyword research. Thank you!

  29. Now i will dive in my keyword researches much deeper. Thanx for that great post.

  30. Ladislav Voros :

    Hi Neil, another awesome article, thanks again 🙂 currently I am focusing on linkbuilding and the .edu backlinks, and I am following your advices, next week I will have one .edu link pointing on my client website, so I am very curious what will be the result 🙂 thanks a lot

    • I’m happy I could help Ladislav, let me know if you have any questions

    • Keep me posted on your progress, I’m curious to see how it works out for you

      • Ladislav Voros :

        Hi Neil, of course, today I had a meeting with a director of a high school, which have .edu domain. In the next week they will put a link on one of my clients website. For sure I will write you, what was the impact. I have to say, that thanks to your blogs my life is so much happier, I am speaking about you to my girlfriend, parents, friends. I wish once in my life I will meet you. Many thanks again for your awesome work, thanks to you I am much much happier 🙂

  31. Guess I will have to ask why, what, how and who for all the keywords that I’m targeting.
    Thanks for sharing.

  32. Great post (as suaul), I came across this idea the other day and you put it in words!

    The intent between XXXX ideas and XXXX tips was significantly different. Not understanding hurt me in the past!

    • It’s a pain in the butt to do these at first, but ultimately it will make all your efforts much more effective

  33. Hi Niel,

    Nice post. What do you think about offline market research and how this applies to digital and vice versa? I think it’s becoming increasingly useful to carry out online and offline “keyword / market research” to fully understand the customers of ones business.


    • I think offline market research is incredibly important. It all comes with knowing your market, understanding people, and their behaviors. Smartphones are changing the way we live, so how do those changes affect technology

  34. Great article!

    By Google trying to make a seamless connection between you and the knowledge you seek you can hypothesis how their algorithm will evolve.

    This only makes it easier for writers to produce content.

    Just ask yourself, “is this something I would read or search for?”

    Keyword research is great for understanding the popularity of a topic but not good for unnaturally plugging keywords into an article.

    Just write naturally and you should be skating to where the puck will be!

    • I always suggest writing naturally, for the reader’s experience, not the search engine. That’s where most people fall off and become confused as to why it doesn’t work out for them.

  35. Oh man, you killed it Neil. I just read somewhere about intent and creating content for your target user but your post was much clearer and well written. This will change the way I prepare content for sure. It is clearly more than just targeting keywords in a mechanical way.

    5 stars!

  36. This is good. Struggling with tying keyword research and persona together for a long time. Thanks for answering this!

  37. Efoghor Joseph :

    Hi Patel, thanks for a great job. Keyword research will continue to exist until the day Google takes away it SERP and decides not to be used anymore as a search portal.

    As much as keyword research is important, not everyone knows how to do it in details. Not all bloggers or ecommerce store owners are able to specifically predict the minds of information seekers or product buyers.

    Good keyword research separates the websites that are getting targeted traffic from those that are not.

    Using generic or broad keywords sometimes brings the traffic but such traffic increases your blog bounce rate because they take their exit as soon as they land on your site and discover you don’t have what they want.

    The job of specific logtail keyword or knowing the intent of the searcher is to bring traffic that would take specific action on your site. Or what do you think?

    Thanks for a great job. Have a lovely and productive weekend.

    • I think when you’re targeting long tail traffic, you’re attracting visitors who are looking to perform a very specific action.

      When you understand exactly how to provide a solution, you can optimize accordingly and enhance the experience you’re providing

      It’s challenging to do the work at first, but it improves the effectiveness of your marketing efforts

  38. Saket Panicker :

    This is an awesome guide…Thanks for your efforts for jotting things down and making it simpler.

  39. Thanks for sharing useful article Neil. I think Keyword research before writing any post & writing quality contents using specific targeted keywords that too without affecting the quality of the post is the toughest task.

  40. yes,keywords are matter to know how much traffic we can get from certain search but at same time we should satisfy the user query otherwise they may not visit again

  41. Great Post Niel. Learn much from your post.

  42. Anup Karmakar :

    In depth, amazing! An eye opener for me.

    Just two questions:

    1. How much search volume is fair to target a particular keyword phrase? If a long tail keyword has a local search volume of 10, should we still target the keyword?

    2. If it’s very low volume KW, should we still write a 1500-2000 words article?

    Thank you once again.

    • 10 is too low… but it varies on how valuable the keywords are. Certain words like “mesothelioma” don’t have volume but each visitor is worth a lot. In general shoot for phrases above 1000.

      For low keyword volume phrases just add them into existing content instead of creating new articles.

  43. Ivan Turyahebwa :

    Thanks Neil for your wonderful tutorial about how to drive a good key word research. Am a newbie who is trying to teach myself this SEO game and i think i have really explained everything very well in your post. However i have a few questions to ask?

    What do you mean Neil when you say Keyword ranking in SEO? If you can please, shoe me very well how it can work in a business of publishing kindle E books. For example am writing an E book about Self Confidence helping people to get rid of self doubt and fear. Show me how i can rank that keyword very well in my content and on Amazon. And what can i do to keep that E book on the top .

    I will be grateful to hear from you dear. Thanks for the good job

  44. Nope, it doesn’t

  45. Great article! Thinking about keywords makes you focus more about the audience your are trying to reach.

  46. ashik tricks :

    I think Keyword Research still plays an important role in 2016 too. We can increase our targetted traffic easily using targetted keywords.

  47. Nora McDougall-Collins :

    The whole topic of “user intent” is useful in other aspects of web development, as well. Here is an example.

    Many years ago, one of my students planned to make a business selling 4 month old horses to buyers who keep horses for the cutting events in rodeo. She thought that maybe putting a nice photo of her mares with their foals on the home page would be good marketing. I asked her whether the buyers care more about the pastoral scene or the results, ie. rosettes and winners in the arena. She said the buyers are goal oriented, so the front page photo was a rodeo shot, not a pastoral shot.

    • Nice, so was that more effective in converting visitors into leads and customers?

      • Nora McDougall-Collins :

        Yes, in their initial start. But they found out that horse breeders from the Bitterroot Valley in Montana were not taken seriously in the national market, where breeders from Texas have a corner on the market. So, they changed their focus to Black Angus cattle, where they also have expertise. In the end other market conditions overruled.

        • Nora McDougall-Collins :

          And, in the process, I learned about the marketing environment for both cutting horses and cattle. My Grandfather would have been pleased.

  48. Search Engines have come a long way. They still need data to index pages, though. It’s great to get it confirmed by you, Neil that key words still matter 🙂

  49. Divya Ramamurthy :

    This is very educational! GREAT! I agree that keyword research is one of many processes in SEO, but i believe it’s the foundation. one cannot go about SEO without understanding how their business’ keywords work. But it’s definitely the foundation that you build off of like you said in your article. Many things revolve around keywords, and we should pay close attention to them, but it’s definitely a preliminary action to a large process.

    • Most people just take things at face value, rather than looking at all the mechanisms going on behind it. That’s what separates the best from the rest.

  50. Tommy Bingham :

    Hey Neil,

    There are certainly a lot of other things to look at, but keyword research is still extremely important to my websites. But it’s nice to be reminded that there are other things we can focus on as well.

    Thanks again!

  51. Hello Sir, which keyword planner tool is best for App store optimization??

  52. Great aricle as always. I follow you by my heart.
    You got the point that surely change the way I do keyword research.

    Thanks a ton neil for such a masterpiece.

  53. Great post Neil – Thanks. Although primarily aimed at good old SEO I wonder if and how Google applies this (intent) to AdWords. Thank you also for mentioning the importance of personas, which is often something I have difficulty persuading some clients to create.

  54. Ataib Ur Rehman :

    Awesome Bro, You’ve done very good job.
    Thank You so much!!!

  55. To quote you from another article that stayed with me: Most SEOs use keyword research to find keywords, experienced SEOs use it to understand their audience.

    Btw, do you really watch Gossip Girl marathons?

  56. Ganesh Singla :

    Thanks for writing a wonderful article

  57. Thanks again for another great article! I get so much out of all your information. Keywords is definitely something I struggle with and this helped immensely. Keep up the great work here!!

  58. Amazing article Neil! Really gave me a truly different insight to this keyword research phenomenon. Thanks so much for sharing it!

  59. One more awesome article.. Thanks neil for providing these special tricks for keyword research and these type of keyword research can really boost any business. Thanks again

  60. viki debbarma :

    Your article really helped me out with my problems, thanks for guiding me with informative post.

  61. Hey Neil,

    what’s up with the nutrition secret updates? When will you be publishing the next?

  62. Hi Neil,
    Thanks for sharing these basic strategies. I agree that keywords are still an important tool in SEO and online marketing and knowing the basic principles of keyword research is very helpful for the traffic improvement and the raise of conversions on the site. Looking forward to your new publications.

  63. This is totally worth reading, Thank you

  64. Great insights. Opting the profitable business keyword is always the essential thing for any type of industry. Your post can be really helpful while doing keyword research for my client’s website.


  65. Debina Kushari :

    It’s an awesome post rather very helpful and informative content too regarding keyword research.I would also love to share my opinion about this topic.Search engines today aren’t looking only at keywords!Search engines are looking at hundreds of different factors. And keywords? They are only a small part of the big picture.Keywords are very important but it isn’t the only aspect you need to be researching when optimizing a website or planning your content marketing.
    For futher SEO traning details i would recommend:

  66. Tauseef Alam :

    Great Insight Neil,

    Now I will think twice before picking a keyword for my next blog post because a slight variation in the keyword may lead to target a non profitable keyword.

    Thanks for sharing it with us.

  67. Scott @ St. Charles SEO :

    When I think of a keyword my mind drifts to long tail-keywords which are more like phrases. Which I know is important to targeting the right customers. My problem is that their are SO MANY different variations, how do we optimize to rank in Google for all these different low traffic search terms?

  68. Thank you! Anyway, how accurate are the search queries and search query type?

  69. Yugandhara P. :

    Thanks for sharing such valuable information on Keyword Research as well as right tools for doing it. Just had a doubt about understanding the exact user’s intent as sometimes it might be confusing. For example, in post it’s mention query such as “Great Chinese Food” meant user might be looking for Chinese restaurant instead it might be “Best Chinese Food” to order from. So I suppose if not straight forward then it might be confusing a bit for certain queries. Please share your thoughts. Thanks

    • Yah, you’ll want to know what the intent of the user is, because all those keywords seem similar but mean completely different things

  70. thanks Neil for diffrentiating the keywords and query.

  71. Sachin Nayi :

    BIG YES Keyword Research matter a lot. Well, I m doing blogging from last one year now first six months I publish the article without doing any keyword research or SEO but from last five month I spent my 2 hours daily on keyword research and it helps me a lot and my traffic now booming

  72. nice article most helpful for me…………!

  73. Keywords are the backbone of any search campaigns. Nowadays, we can not rely solely on tools like keyword planner. We have to dive deep into to understand the buyer persona.

    The best way to figure out the most potential keywords is to run a Google AdWords campaign for a month and figure out the most potential keywords that will bring leads along with the traffic. This is what i personally follow

    • That and understand your users from the inside out. Once you can determine information like that you will be able to think differently about the way you work

  74. Nilantha Jayawardhana :


    I was pleased to read your article which was well composed and informative with lots of good advice. Thanks for sharing.

  75. As always, a very interesting post Neil. Insightful, engaging and full of useful information.

  76. Himmat Chahal :

    Anyone have any favorite tools (paid or unpaid!) for longtail keyword research? Particularly if they offer info on of how competitive they are to rank for 🙂

    As always, thanks for another comprehensive article. I think it would be a big mistake to forget that keywords are symptom of intention, and not the other way around.

    • Yes, that was very well put Himmat. When you can understand intention, you can provide a seamless experience

  77. Great article – solid process for segmenting keywords!
    The issue I’m having is the explosion of competition. You didn’t mention monthly search volume and SERP results, but I’m sure you have seen the first creep up in small increments and the second take off logarithmically. So, after this lovely research we’re competing against 8 million results for a keyword instead of 800,000 or 80,000. It’s discouraging. Would love for you to share your strategy, which presumably integrates organic with all sorts of other channels.

    • There is still hope. Competition count isn’t always accurate for how competitive a keyword is. Just keep going after it and you will do well in time.

  78. Wow!

    You nailed it Patel, this article just came in on time for me.
    I’m about searching for keywords for my writers and this article has really enlightened me.
    I feel good and confident now than ever before.

    Patel, you’re great.

  79. Luqman Khan :

    Hey Neil,

    Thank you for an amazing piece of content. I’m about to start a new project site and I wanted to go deeper in research before I started working on it and here your article popped up!

    I have a question. How do we know what time of the day a user is more likely to buy or in a mood to buy?

    • That is the million dollar question. Now is the answer. This is something you will need to figure out as you analyze patterns and trends with your data.

  80. Neil,
    Awesome post as always!
    Could you please say, how many times should I use keyword phrases in a text? I mean %.
    Probably, I missed your 1 of post on this subject.
    Thank you.

  81. Keyword research is good to an extent. It’s good however to create content at full strength and just talking fluently throughout the body of the content as if you’re having a face to face fluent conversation with another human being.

  82. Techvak Solutions :

    Wow. Excellent information. It helps me to clear some of my doubts about keyword research.

  83. Email Database :

    Thanks for the awesome post as always Neil!

  84. Dale Rennie :

    Keyword research is an essential element that can help boost your SEO efforts. You can’t entirely proceed to optimizing a website if you haven’t done any keyword research. It’s the first step in the entire process. Thank you for this post. Had a great time reading the article.

  85. I believe with the ever changing strategies employed by Google, it is advisable to combine other strategies with Keywords to achieve maximum results.

  86. You want people to find you, but you may want a specific type of client to find you. Figuring out the ideal keywords and phrases to make that happen. It can be such a fun puzzle.

    • When you’re doing what you love, it’s definitely like solving a fun puzzle (even though it’s sometimes frustrating too lol)

  87. nice article neil. tahnks for sharing it can you tell that the research on keywords will be an important factor for a tech blog or not ?

  88. Jeni Anderson :

    Both keyword and content play an important role in SEO. updating unique, fresh and quality content is the best way to increase page rank. Great Post. Thanks for sharing this article.

    • It’s THE most important way to increase your page rank and make your life a lot easier when you’re building links

  89. Hi, Neil and thanks for sharing this motivative and informative post. I really appreciate your articles and awesome too.
    thanks again bro..

  90. Persian Rugs :

    Awesome post…

    You made me realize a huge flaw in my website and why the visitors don’t convert properly for my customers (which I had sold ads too)

    An “information website” usually doesn’t lead to sales.

  91. I only found the importance of the user intent from this website when we go forward to the keyword analysis. It is really true that most of us miss this point. Thanks….

  92. Hey Neil, awesome post.
    I have a question related to keyword research that should I target body keywords or long tail keywords as I am just starting out.
    Yes, long tail keywords are good but they have less searches and a lot competition.
    And if I target body keywords, I would be automatically ranking for long tail keywords but it would be a bit difficult.
    Please help, a bit confused.
    thanks bro..

  93. Hi Neil, Your articles are always awesome and well researched which helps us to get more traffic and target right audience.

  94. Thanks for sharing this article this realy helps to find targeted keywords as well it already helped me to gain more traffic…
    Thanks a lot neil for sharing great content…

  95. Which free and paid tools can be used for deep keyword research?Pls suggest

  96. Hey Neil, I have a doubt. Now keyword planner is not showing exact searches. Do you have any idea to bypass it?

  97. Yes, keywords are important because they make your site specific in the search engine. Good keywords works both ways, they make your site specific to the search engines and they make it easier for you to identify your target market.

  98. Thank a lot for thie guide Neil 🙂

  99. That’s really great post and thank you so much for sharing.

  100. It’s really a helpful article Neil.. thanx for sharing

  101. I think Keyword Research plays an important role in 2016 too. We can increase our targeted traffic easily using targeted keywords but if you are running for long-term, I don’t think one should focus on it.

  102. Thanks again, for another great article! Keywords is definitely something I struggle with and this helped immensely. Keep up the great work here!!

  103. Hello Neil sir,

    i am first time read in your blog its really wonderful. and i also learn how to write blog so its very helpful for me thanks again..

    happy new year

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